Seibertron.com Exclusive Interview with Bell, Coller, and Bove
Thursday, September 30th, 2010 8:37am CDTCategories: Cartoon News, Comic Book News, People News, Interviews
Posted by: Razorclaw0000 Views: 134,770
Thanks to the generosity of Apocalypse Comics, Seibertron.com got a chance to briefly interview Michael Bell, Casey Coller, and John-Paul Bove.
Razorclaw0000: You have over 300 credits listed on IMDB, spanning over 40 years. Of all of those roles, which has been the most memorable? The most fun? The most challenging?
Michael Bell: If you mean the most fun On Camera I would have to say " Star Trek"....although working in front of a live audience on 'Three's Company"was a treat. VO? Well, that's a hard one. Between GI Joe, Transformers, The Inhumaniods,
( games ) Ratchet and Clank, Defiance of Kain, and the later series the SMURFS and Rugrats.. I have had one happy uvula.
RZ0: When voicing multiple characters in a series, how do you differentiate them? What inspires each one's distinct personality? How does it feel to talk to yourself?
MB: Most actors prepared for vo work have developed their characters years before they got the role. Voice people are all movie buffs and a little crazy. We often just match up what we have worked on with the animated character art work that is submitted to us.
However, sometimes the art work itself has something distinguishable that causes the actor to reach deep down and devise a voice or combination of both timbre and wrinkle for that character. Uh..whad he say?
As to talking to myself, as a married man, I have had plenty of practice.
RZ0: Can you discuss your role or roles in "Transformers:Prime"?
MB: I have been programed to forget I am part of that. In fact everyone involved has forgotten it to the point that I was never informed I was doing it. Did I do that already or is it yet to be done?
That is the question?
RZ0: Your daughter Ashley Bell is quickly making a name for herself as an actress, having recently starred in the #1 hit movie "The Last Exorcism." What are your thoughts on her acting career and are you surprised that she followed in your footsteps?
MB: I am not surprised at anything Ashley does once she sets her mind to it. She was very introverted as a kid so I thought she would be teaching classes in }how to avoid joining in and still be happy."
Now she that she is out of the bottle and in the spotlight, there is no getting the jinni back in.
Her performance in TLE was a startling revelation to me. I have seen her be brilliant on stage, but had no idea that she mastered the technique of film. Still reeling from her performance.
RZ0: It is now common knowledge that your iconic G.I. Joe character Duke was supposed to die in the animated G.I. Joe movie, but because of the backlash at the death of Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated film, that plan was quickly changed. What do you think the reaction would have been had G.I. Joe been released first and Duke was in fact killed in the film?
MB: I think there would have been riots and many would have perished in Korea, Japan and the Philippines. I personally am responsible for saving millions of lives and careers and have never been given the proper credit for it..or even a fig newton.
RZ0: You are probably more famous as a voice actor, but you've had your share of "on screen" roles as well, having appeared on TV shows such as M*A*S*H, Star Trek (The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine), The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Charlie's Angels and many more Any favorite roles?
MB: As I said, loved doing "Star Trek." Actually I enjoyed most of my On Camera work until I did a show that featured a star ( that has long been snuffed out) who was such an egomaniac that I no longer had a taste for that end of the business. I also hated my wardrobe. I have never looked back since, which has made me a muggers dream.
RZ0: You've had a number of excellent homage covers. How do you select the original to homage, i.e. how did you select X-Men #1 for the Michael Bell cover for Ongoing #12 or "The Killing Joke" for All Hail Megatron #1?
Casey Coller: The first two homage covers I did for IDW and Apocalypse Comics (The Killing Joke and Amazing Spider-Man #50 homages) were Mario Coleman's idea. Mario is the guy who runs Apocalypse Comics and approached IDW with the ideas. I was just the lucky bastard who got to draw them! After doing those covers, I felt it was appropriate to continue that tradition for the NYCC covers. I was presented with the idea of doing a cover featuring the Transformers characters that were voiced by Michael Bell in the Sunbow cartoon, as he'll be appearing with us at the Apocalypse Comics booth. So I was just looking for an iconic image to match up with these characters. When I considered the X-Men #1 cover, I started to realize the Autobots had a bit it common with the X-Men featured on the cover. Prowl and Cyclops (both leader-ish types sometimes looked upon as, well, I guess rigid would be a nice way to put it), Brainstorm and Beast (both scientist-types), Sideswipe and Iceman (both portrayed as hot-headed characters at times), Swoop and Angel (simply because they have wings... and I thought Swoop's missile launchers could fit where Angel's bazooka was). And then there's First-Aid. He doesn't necessarily have anything in common with Jean Grey, but the pose made me chuckle a bit. It seemed like a character portrayed as a "pacifist medic" kind of fit with this pose. He looks like he could be saying "Stop it, guys! There's no need to fight!" Or maybe he's just not looking forward to fixing them all once the fight is done! Anyway, it just seemed like it would match up fairly well, and it would be a lot of fun to draw!
When I do an homage cover, I want it to be completely out of respect to the original. The instant recognizability is a testament to the lasting impact of the original artist's work. In one istance, because it was so recent, I did contact the artist for his blessing. That was the Optimus Prime cover of AHM #12. I contacted Klaus Scherwinski about creating a mirror image of his Megatron cover for AHM #1 as sort of a bookend. He's a great guy, and gave me the go-ahead.
RZ0: How do you approach work for the Transformers Collector's Club when compared to IDW? Does one give you more creative freedom?
CC: Well first, both IDW and TFCC are great to work for. As far as creative freedom goes, I'd say IDW gives their artists a bit more freedom (though I believe some of that's being reigned it a bit of late). Their artists are generally free to draw in their own style. Pete Sinclair (TFCC) has a fairly specific style he's looking for, which luckily is somewhat similar to my style. So I think that works well also. My approach doesn't change much in the sense that I'm just trying to put my best work out there for the Transformers fans in either case.
RZ0: Who is your favorite character to pencil and why?
CC: I have a few favorites... I love drawing Kup (cy-gar or no cy-gar!), Starscream, Megatron, and yes, Drift. But my absolute favorite character to draw is Jazz. I love drawing characters with personality, and I just have a lot of fun with him. There may be a bit of "first transformer" syndrome there as well, as he was the first one I got back in 1984. But I just love the look of him. He's got style!
RZ0: What was your favorite cover to pencil?
Hmm... that's a tough one. I think I'd have to say it's the Blurr cover. It was a challenge in the sense that I was asked to draw him kind of just standing there for the "magazine-cover" style cover. I can't remember how exactly it was worded, but Shane wasn't looking for some sort of dynamic pose, but more like something you'd see a rock star doing on the cover of Rolling Stone. He wanted him to look like a big deal. So when it was all said and done, I felt like I was able to pull off a cover that had quite a bit of personality to it, with nothing more than some very subtle posture and facial expression. You can really tell that Blurr thinks the world of himself there! And when Joana and I were talking about colors, we sent each other images of cars in showrooms, bright lights shining on, and streaking across the polished sportscars. Joana just absolutely nailed this look. I was truly blown away. And then once Hutch added the text, it all came together. I think the end result came out better than I thought it could.
RZ0: You've been involved in official IDW works and the not-quite-canon Tranformers:Mosaics. Do you prefer one or the other?
John-Paul Bove I think in a number of ways I view them in the same way. I first started collaborating with Casey when I was pitching War Journal to Josh Van Reyk and discovered Casey had done a number of outstanding TF pin ups and I thought he'd do great sequentials (which obviously he did) and now I've had the chance to work with him for "real" which has been fantastic. In some ways the line is a bit blurry because a lot of the Mosaic guys have gone on to do pro work for IDW and a lot of the pros have contributed something to Mosaic. I'm absolutely thrilled to be colouring an official TF (and GI Joe) cover because I'm a huge fan of TF's and a lot of the editors and artists at IDW I admire big time. If feels like a proper community and that's true of Mosaics too. The one big thing about Mosaics that I love is that I've had a chance to write a few and writing was really how I started down the road of comics. I have to admit I get a huge thrill when the reaction to a Mosaic that I've written comes through and for some reason I'm always surprised when it's really positive. I think the truth is I just love both avenues, because the artistic community for both are just outstanding and so are the people in charge. I have made some absolutely amazing and very talented friends (most of whom I've never met in the flesh) because of these experiences, and I get to share in something I have a deep love for. Either way I feel pretty lucky, though I won't deny I'd love to write some TF stuff for IDW one day.
RZ0: As a colorist, you bring penciled works to life. How do you settle on a style which meshes with the sketches you've received?
JPB: Years and years of trial and error! I usually start in terms of style, is it classical, scratchy, bold, etc and try and figure out what style works best with it. Knowing the mood or intent of a panel or page also guides whether to go one way or another. That said, the artist normally gives some good guidance on intent too and Casey's very specific on certain details so obviously I want to make sure they're in. There is rarely just one way to go though and I actually did 2 completely different versions of both the TF and GI Joe cover, a more modern looking TF cover and a more traditional "painted" look for the GI Joe one. I may post these up one day, but I do feel the best versions are the ones used in the final comic.
Seibertron.com thanks Mario at Apocalypse Comics for the opportunity and Michael, Casey, and John-Paul for their time!
Credit(s): Mario Coleman, Apocalypse Comics
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Posted by DaiShanPrime on September 30th, 2010 @ 9:40am CDT
It would be cool to meet other transformer fans from this forum and take a pic at the con and post it here.
Posted by Delicon on September 30th, 2010 @ 5:56pm CDT
Posted by Razorclaw0000 on September 30th, 2010 @ 6:17pm CDT
Delicon wrote:Nice interview. I live less than 3 hrs away from NYC but don't think I can make it this year.
Also thanks for those last two questions for Bell! I couldn't think of a good way to phrase that last question without it being too inflammatory, but there's always room in the podcast!
With grad school and all, there's no way I have time to go to NYC next weekend. My one weekend for fun this semester is this weekend with my wife in DC.